Ancient Greece Military and Wars

Wars were very common in ancient Greece. The city-states – Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes – were always fighting each other over their borders. Often they would get together in leagues, a lot of city-states together, to fight as allies. In Athens, Ancient Greece military and Wars service were determined by a citizen’s social and economic position. In the early sixth century B.C., the arson Solon instituted four classes defined by income and gave each class a proportionate measure of political responsibility.

first messenian war

The second wealthiest class, the hippies (“horsemen”), earned enough from their land to maintain a horse and so fought as cavalry; the third wealthiest group, the agitate, were able to afford the equipment of a hop-lite; the wealthiest class, the Pentakosiomedimnoi (“five-hundred-bushel men”), supplied the leaders for the armed forces; and the poorest class, the thees, were hired laborers who served as oarsmen in the Athenian fleet, or as archers and light-armed men on land.

 Ancient Greek War

Wars in ancient Greece were generally fought in the summer. At first, citizens were called as volunteers to fight whenever their city-state was threatened. By the end of the fifth century, standing armies and required military service was the norm. Before going into battle, the armies sacrificed to Ares or Athena, the god, and goddess of war

Ancient Greeks by Angus McBride

Inventions of Ancient Greece Military and Wars

Ancient Greeks invented the use of technology in warfare. It is the base of the military superiority of the civilization of the West. The first such invention was the Phalanx which was used against the Persians. The Athenians produced very fast triremes.

Ancient Greece Military Invention of Catapults

The Greeks in Sicily developed the first advanced catapults. Catapults were mainly invented by Ancient Greeks. There is some evidence that probably Persians and others also used even earlier Catapults although not much is known today. Greek engineers are believed to be the designers of the most effective war engines used by the Romans.

Spartans against the Persian army

In the period of Alexander, the Great colossal siege engines were produced. Alexander introduced an army that could move very fast (even today very important) a fact which requires an organization and planning. The Greek Ptolemaic kings of Egypt produced very large ships.

The Phalanx and the Trireme ship were important for Athens to be victorious against a much larger Persian Army, but the Ancient Greece Military and Wars technology was developed less by Athenians but by other Greek groups. The Phalanx is considered a Spartan invention. Sparta transformed into a militaristic society (especially due to the Messenian wars experience) in order to be able to control the much larger number of Helots and Perioikoi working for the Spartans more or less as slaves.

Ancient Greek War

A hoplite phalanx was a very strong Ancient Greece Military and Wars formation – but it only worked if all the soldiers were well trained and if they were all brave enough to hold the line. If anyone started to run away, the whole line would fall apart, and it wouldn’t work.

Ancient Greece Soldiers

Athenian soldiers were required to serve two years in the military, one in the garrison and one in a border fort. After the first year, they were given a sword and a shield with the state’s emblem on it. Although they served only two years, they could be called at any moment up to age sixty. The army consisted of horsemen and hoplites, foot soldiers.

They were armed with swords, shields, and extremely long lances. Most wars between city-states were due to problems concerning harvests or livestock, sometimes only lasting a day or so. There was a truce called every four years in Greece in order for representatives of various city-states to compete in the Olympic Games.